Asian Style Spare Ribs From The Smoker

Top down view of Asian style spare ribs on a sheet pan

These smoked Asian style spare ribs are a beautiful marriage between Chinese takeout and American barbeque. They are sweet and sticky and smoky. If you’ve been around here for a while you will know I love combining an Asian flair to grilled/smoked foods. I think you’re going to love these too!

The key to these ribs is the sauce. The dry rub is good and all but the sauce is what makes these awesome. The sauce is based on sesame chicken. So if you really don’t want to make the sauce you can definitely buy your favorite premade version.

Sauce ribs on a weber kettle

Equipment Needed

Clearly you’ll need a smoker. Or maybe not. Because with a little bit of ingenuity almost anything can be a smoker.

Other than that, you will need a good set of tongs and a basting brush.

Smoked Asian Style Spare Ribs on a sheet pan


If you haven’t already skipped to the recipe, here are some substitutions you can do if you don’t want to make the rub or the sauce.

  • Dry Rub – You can use your favorite dry rub and mix in some Chinese 5 Spice powder. Use about 1 teaspoon of the 5 spice per 1/4 cup of BBQ dry rub.
  • Sauce – The sauce in the recipe is basically a sesame chicken sauce so any premade sauce from the store will work just as well for these smoked Asian style spare ribs.
Ribs gets sauce applied on a weber kettle.

Tips for getting the best Smoked Asian Style Spare Ribs

  • Keep Temperature above 225 – Low and slow at 225 just doesn’t give you the best results. Increase the temperature to around 265.
  • Don’t burn the sauce – Either in the pot or on the ribs. There is a good amount of sugar so keep your eye on it when making it and don’t add it to early to the ribs on the smoker.

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Smoked Asian Style Spare Ribs on a sheet pan
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Smoked Asian Style Spare Ribs

Everything you love about ribs and Chinese take-out in one meal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Resting Time30 minutes
Total Time6 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Keyword: asian style, ribs, spare ribs
Servings: 2
Cost: 20


  • 1 rack St. Louis Style Spare Ribs

For the dry rub

  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoons Chinese 5 spice
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablepoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard

For the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vineager I prefer the seasoned variety
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch


  • Set up your smoker for 265℉
  • Combine all the dry rub ingredients, besides the salt, and mix to combine.
  • Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs and seasoning generously with salt and then the rub. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to putting on the smoker.
  • Place the smoker in the ribs and smoke for approximately 5 hours or until the meat pulls back from the bones and meat starts to break apart when doing the "bend test" . Brush on the sauce about 10 minutes before removing from smoker.

For the sauce

  • Set a small pot on medium and add the sesame oil. Once up to heat, add the garlic and cook for about 60 seconds or until the garlic is very fragrant.
  • Afterwards, add the remaining ingredients besides the water and corn starch. Whisk to combine.
  • While the sauce is coming up to temperature, add the water and cornstarch to a container with a lid. Shake vigorously to combine to create a slurry.
  • Once the sauce is simmering, add the cornstarch slurry and whisk to combine. Bring back to a simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat. The sauce is ready to be used.


See post for substitutions as far as the dry rub and sauce go.